Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 7 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 7 2017

ONE

The respected Economist Magazine this week commented on forecast adjustments by various investment houses for the penetration of electric vehicles. Up till last year, the consensus was that only 4% of new vehicles would be electric by 2025. BNP Paribas now forecast 11% penetration by 2025, while Morgan Stanley see’s a 7% penetration. In 2016 international EV sales increased with nearly 750,000 units (42%)  in spite of a low fuel price environment. One factor driving the change of heart are aggressive regulations to support environmental targets. In Norway electric vehicles now makes up 37% of new vehicle fleet amid government support while in China the Government aims to have EV’s make up 8% of new vehicles by 2018. Technology has also moved much faster than anticipated and battery cost, a long time stumbling block is coming down faster than anticipated, with some mega factories coming online within the next two years. Our hearts go out to the automakers that failed to notice the trend, RIP Fiat, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and the list goes on, not to mention Big Oil. 

TWO

This week Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented on the disruption of self-driving cars to the sector during the World Government Summit in Dubai. Mr. Musk was in Dubai for the launch of Tesla in the Emirates. His comments indicated that Tesla would have its first Level 4 Autonomous system available by the end of 2017. The disruption is significant to the auto sector since once a self-driving car is available, it will devalue new cars without the technology. According to Mr. Musk, the disruption will be slow initially but that in ten years from now all new cars will have the capability to be autonomous. It’s significant that Mr. Musk made the comments at a Government Summit as regulations, not technology seems to be the biggest hurdle at the moment. Will technology force the pace of Governments? We sincerely hope so.

THREE

Mercedes-Benz USA announces that Daimler will stop selling combustion based Smart ForFour and ForTwo models in the USA and Canada. The brand will focus on electric models only in a report by Reuters. 

FOUR

The Wall Street Journal reported on the Chinese Electric Vehicle market hitting a road block, with new electric vehicles sales down over 60% for January. China up till now has been the mainstay of the sector with sales increases in 2015 of 300% and 50% on top of that in 2016. The recent clampdown on corruption in the sector which led to a range of new regulations being forced on the Chinese market since December 30, 2016, is seen to be the reason for the sharp slowdown. The Wall Street Journal reported on fines of $150 million imposed on some companies in September 2016. The fines were as a result of subsidy fraud. The Chinese Government also indicated earlier the year that they want to increase barriers to entry and limit the market to around ten manufacturers, down from over 200 currently, in a bid to improve quality and safety of the end product.

FIVE

The 3rd event in the current series of the Formula-E electric vehicle street racing calendar held Buenos Aires Argentina ended yet again with a victorious Renault.eDams team. The e.Dams driver, Swiss-born Sebastian Buemi clinched his 3rd win of the series. The Brasilian Lucas Di Grassi’s 2nd position kept Audi’s ABT Schaeffler standings in the overall second position. The Chinese teams of Next EV and Techeeta were the only teams climbing the rankings, now lying 4th and 5th respectively. Newcomer Panasonic Jaguar has yet to score a single point in the 3rd season, with its drivers Evans and Carrol ending 18th and 19th.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 3 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 3 2017

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#1 – First EV to finish Dakar

An electric vehicle finished the grueling Dakar Rally in South America for the first time this week. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered rally car finished the 5,600 miles after the third attempt at the title. The team sponsored by Acciona, a Spanish Renewable Developer, has spent five years fine-tuning the vehicle which includes a 100-watt solar panel and Tesla battery pack. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered has a 200 km (125 miles) range in race conditions powering a 250kW electric motor providing 800nm of torque. The vehicle achieves a top speed of 150km/h (94mph).

#2 – More Bullionaires flock to EV sector

Bloomberg reported that the JSW Group’s owner and Chairman, Sajjan Jindal, announced in Davos, Switzerland his intention to enter the Indian Electric Vehicle market by 2020. The metals tycoon expects the Indian government, like many other governments, will promote EVs once it’s more affordable. Although India has some large automakers such as Tata and Mahindra, which is a contender in the Formula E Series, the country is significantly lagging its neighbor China, the world’s largest EV market. India had only around 6,000 electric vehicles registered at the end of 2015.

#3 – Tesla not to blame for fatal crash 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded its report on the fatal accident of a Model S in “autopilot” with a truck back in May 2016. The US NHTSA’s report exonerated the company and found no defect or reason for a recall. The agency’s findings collaborated the company’s claims at the time that the autopilot made driving safer, as it found that the crash rate of the Tesla decreased by 40% after introducing the Autopilot’s Autosteer feature.

The main conclusion of the report is:

  • Driver Assist Systems “require the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes.”
  • Urges drivers to read all instructions and warnings before using the ADAS systems.
In other Tesla-related news, the company’s share price increased 4% after a Morgan Stanley report on sales for the anticipated release of the Model 3, putting some hurt on the big short positions entered in recent months against the company.

#4 – Panasonic extends partnership with Tesla

Panasonic announced it’s intention to extend it’s already a significant partnership with Tesla beyond just batteries, and in particular to autonomous technology such as sensors. The Japanese technology company’s strategy had changed markedly towards the auto sector after it’s initial partnership with the Tesla in the early 2000’s when the automaker was just a start-up.

#5 – EVs advancing at much greater pace than forecasted

A report just released by the Californian Air Resouces Board indicated that advancement in electric vehicle technology is happening at a much faster pace than anticipated five years back. The report highlights the efforts by Tesla and Chevrolet to bring affordable and long range vehicles to the market. The report found expanding charging networks, advancements in battery performance, decreasing cell costs, and the number of models available to the consumer as factors for the improved results. On the other hand, the Board states that not all automakers attack the challenges with the same vigor, with Honda and Fiat Chrysler named as company’s that just do the bare minimum to comply with regulations. We predict this will reflect in the various companies share prices five years from now when the next report takes the pulse of the sector.

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